You might assume that queer people don’t exist in reggaeton and dembow, but they definitely do. Sitting down for an interview in a Mexico City apartment with Mami Slut co-founder La Mendoza, Jovan “La Travieza” Israel surfs through a few not-quite-hetero YouTube videos that help contextualize the CDMX party series, now heading into its 10th edition.

“You’ve seen that song ‘Deja Tu Estrés?’” asks Jovan. “There’s a bunch of queer people in that video.” He’s talking about the group of high-femme vedettes that appear in the clip for a track that Dominican urbano duo Los Teke Teke put out in 2015. “Deja Tu Estrés” is an addictive, jocular dembow chronicle studded with queer slang like “pajarita” (Dominican for “maricón”), sung by the objects of the narrator’s affection. Lyrics follow the night of a man who is flirting with someone whose gender they’re not sure about. “Le sentí como un tonito raro/’Esa no e’ la voz de Alberto, el amigo de fulano?” ask the ambiguous lyrics, whose recurring “what the fuuuck” line does not discourage the protagonist from flirting. “Cuando metí la mano ahí/what the fuuuck,” is his last word on the seduction, before the chorus demands that he relax once again.

Los Tekes are known for their self-deprecating songs; “Dame Tu Numerito” featured a stream of women turning the vocalists’ game down flat. Their intentions behind “Deja Tu Estrés” are uncertain. But whatever the duo’s intended message, Jovan finds a positive analysis in the video’s gender-diverse cast and use of queer slang, not to mention the lyrics’ familiar storyline.

“It’s something so common,” Jovan says. “Straight people don’t realize, or they don’t want to see that a person is trans. I think that that if this kind of situation happens in videos, it makes the problem visible, you know? It can be perceived as something transphobic; it could be perceived as a joke. But this is a reality. They all are a part of [queer culture], mayates, chacales, trans, drags – it’s all part of it.”

He plays the next clip on YouTube. “He’s the pajarita; he’s La Delfi,” explains Jovan. He’s queued up the video for “Dame Leche” by Dominican vocalist Jhon Distrito, the video utterly stolen by featuring artist La Delfi. La Delfi starts out in dark shades and a leather jacket – silver bling dembow boy drag – before they next appear in a golden dress, full makeup, and a wig. “Después de las 12 mami se vale todo,” they sing. The message is clear: at night, the rules of the game are different.

A queer artist has yet to break through to the highest levels of reggaeton or dembow, but it’s clear that the door is swinging wider. J Balvin, reggaeton’s official liaison to the fashion industry, hyped the fact he has gay friends in an interview with Spanish LGBT magazine Shanghay. “I greet a lot of them with a peck, and some of them I call ‘queen,’” Balvin said. “I like to celebrate all the beautiful things the world offers me.”

For all the mainstream’s slowly creeping acceptance, Mami Slut was not created to follow a trend – in this case, the ever-increasing commodification of queerness and feminism in the music industry. Like any good night, Mami Slut started because some friends wanted to create a space that didn’t exist. “We were going out, but we weren’t having fun anymore — only when they’d play reggaeton, other Latin rhythms,” says La Mendoza.

Neither were DJs. Neither threw parties. Jovan was best known for his loving, trans universe of illustrations that have now adorned many a Mami Slut flyer. At the time, La Mendoza was just starting her vogue career. A former member of the House of Apocalipstick, she has since branched off to start her very own House of Mamis. “How do I define a Mami?” she asks. “Shade, all those things that exist in the vogue scene…they don’t have them because their dance speaks for itself. They don’t gossip. The Mamis are purely good vibes.”

La Mendoza and Travieza invited their friends, DJs Mataputos and Rosa Pistola, to play Mami’s free first edition at Diamond Disco Club. Travieza also DJ’d and hosted, while La Mendoza danced and worked the door. A year and a half and nine parties later, that core team hasn’t changed. The parties are only slightly more expensive, with intensely rowdy, gender-diverse perreo contests, and like Papi Juice in NYC, the Mamis have created a queer CDMX party institution, with their wigs towering over the dance floor.

DJ Travieza and La Mendoza regularly book all-woman lineups. Mami’s sweaty, heeled 10th edition on March 25 will be stacked with DJs both local and international, including residents Mataputos and Rosa Pistola, plus Kumbia Queers alum Ali Guagüis. Also set to appear are Colombia’s Lady Zunga aka Abcdefg Hijklmn Opqrst Uvwxyz and Buenos Aires’ Tayhana. Past editions have featured Chilean diva Tomasa Del Real and some exemplar men, like Oaxaca’s DJ Tetris and producer Chico Sonido among them.

“Normally, it’s women who are interested in feminism within reggaeton,” Jovan says as he describes their booking philosophy. “Or at least in empowerment, who break with that idea that women don’t have anything to do with reggaeton.” Mami Slut’s organizers were motivated to explore their own sexual identities through the atmosphere of gender fluidity created through the events.

“Travestí-travestí, wig, heels, mujer, beautiful – [that was the] first Mami Slut in Bahía Bar,” remembers La Mendoza of the party’s debut, in what would become its regular venue. It also happened to be the first time she went out in her full femme weaponry, with some pre-party help from the experts. “The drags did me, remember?” she asks Travieza, who does.

“[I wore a] red wig,” continues La Mendoza. “It happened because of our party, you know? It was this change — you realize there are lot of possibilities to be yourself, to discover that [being a] travestí isn’t bad, to be feminine isn’t bad” (Although in the U.S. “transvestite” can be considered a transphobic term, in Latin America many people who were assigned male at birth identify with the word).

“And I don’t have fun at a party unless I’m travestido,” La Mendoza adds. “It’s been almost two years of — we can say aesthetically — developing my persona, and also getting rid of a lot of my fear. Getting to know people identify as genders that you didn’t even know existed. Before Mami Slut and vogueing, I was a person who identified as gay and that’s it. There was no other possibility, you know?”

“It’s my favorite party in every sense,” says DJ Mataputos. “For me, the best part of the party is the attendees. They’re the most devoted — they just want to dance and have a good time, regardless of race and gender.”

DJ Sueño Dream Lion linked with Mami Slut through his Perreo Pesado associate Rosa Pistola, and has since become one of Mami’s favorites to close the night. Behind the decks, the straight DJ dances so hard he jumps, leaning into the songs that range wildly across genres, anything to hype the crowd for a final few hours.

Sueño said the first time he played the party he didn’t know what to expect. The uncertainty faded quickly, though. “I remember that it really motivated me seeing the crowd dance and sing along to the tracks I played,” he writes. “I left really excited, wishing it was the next edition of the party so that I could be the guest DJ again. The atmosphere is super distinctive, very fun, bizarre, and too bellakeo. After Perreo Pesado, it’s definitely my favorite party in Mexico City.”

Eventually, Jovan is asked what his favorite moment of Mami Slut is. One expects him to say something about dance floor climax, or sweet interactions he’s seen in the crowd, but instead it’s about crouching over a toilet in heels.

“This is weird, but it’s when we count the money,” he says. “We’re in drag, first of all. We’re in the bathroom, using the toilet. Money in our bras…it’s weird, but it’s my favorite part. One time we were in there and I think the club staff thought we were doing cocaine and they were pounding on the door. And Mendoza’s like, ‘We’re going to the bathroom!’ And they forced the door open and there we were with the money. I was like, ‘Oh my god!’ But they’ve gotten to know us, so they were like, ‘Oh, okay, got it.’”

Unlike in the rest of the industry, at Mami Slut, queers aren’t just singing the chorus. There’s no coy ambiguity à la “Deja Tu Estrés” here — they produced the track and dammit, they’re gonna count the money in a stall if they want to. “Now we know who the Mamis are,” says Mendoza. “We know we exist and that we’re making noise in DF.”

Mami Slut’s 10th edition hits Mexico City on Saturday, March 25 at 9 p.m. For more info, click here.